Sawbones: The King of Quacks

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This week on Sawbones, Justin and Sydnee return to the fertile land of patent medicine quacks to introduce you to Curtis Howe Springer, the King of Quacks.

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Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Topic Request: Hookworms.

I'm a reasonably-healthy 28 year old male who has been struggling with the asthmas since I was about four. I hear many people grow out of it, but mine has only gotten worse, to the point that I become pretty much apartment-bound for maybe four days every two months, during which days my primary life goal becomes begging for butt-injection steroids from my primary-care doc.

Dissatisfied with the level of comfort the medical field had provided me up to this point, I naturally turned to the webs as a source of hope... and the hope it provided was in the form of spoopy parasites, (namely hookworms) which promised (among other things) to crawl into my body through the soles of my feet (and out of it through my eyeballs) and also (or so the webs said) to cure my asthma. The only reasonably-plausible methods of introducing these happy parasites into myself involved either thousands of dollars to obtain some sort of nicotine patch full of hookworm eggs or a tropical tour of horror-latrines where I could have such wonderful experiences as walking barefoot through tribal poopmud.

As insane as that last bit sounds, my googling did turn up such studies as which hinted at some manner of truth behind the hookworm-advocates' claims. Seemed like big Pharma was at least piqued. Sydnee, I know that at least as of the guinea worms episode you were bemoaning the lack of parasites on your show... I realize this topic is begging for medical advice and so ethical minefields might need to be navigated... but I, for one, would be fascinated...